Urgent hospital care varies for opioid use disorders

Jan. 26, 2023

New data from PINC AI Applied Sciences (PAS) shows that the prevalence of opioid use disorder (OUD) is not evenly distributed across states.

Across the country, PINC AI data shows about 2.28 percent of ED inpatient admissions had OUD diagnoses. However, in New Mexico, the percentage of inpatients with OUD was nearly triple the national average at 7.09 percent. In New Jersey, the percentage was about two times higher than the national average, while states like Washington, Oregon, Massachusetts, and Maryland had percentages nearly double the national average. 

Additionally, 14 states and the District of Columbia provided emergency outpatient care for a larger percentage of patients with OUD than the national average of 0.58 percent with New Jersey having the highest proportion of 2.29 percent. 

States with higher-than-average OUD encounters are more likely to serve a higher population of patients living in poverty (defined as those living below the poverty line and qualifying for Medicaid, the uninsured and/or homeless) and indigenous people, which have the highest prevalence of OUD-related healthcare needs. 

OUD is a complex illness characterized by chronic, compulsive pattern of opioid drug use even when the person wants to stop, or when using the drugs creates physical impairment and/or distress. 

Though opioids can be prescribed by a doctor to treat pain, misuse of opioids (including morphine, codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl and heroin) may lead to an opioid use disorder. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, more than 932,000 people have died since 1999 from a drug overdose and nearly 75 percent of drug overdose deaths in 2020 involved an opioid. 

The devastating effect of OUD on individuals, families, society and healthcare system led to the declaration of the opioid crisis as a public health emergency by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2017. 

There is an urgent need to provide health systems and emergency caregivers with frontline solutions to stem the tide of opioid addiction in our communities. Providers leveraging these best practices are creating focused initiatives to reduce pain management and addiction specifically for the patients who need them. 

Premier Inc release